A musical short where the three-strip Technicolor process was used for the first time. Extracted from the file "Comedy shorts" available on Public Domain Movie Torrents.
Run time 20 min 28 secProducer Lloyd CorriganProduction Company Pioneer Pictures Corporation/RKOAudio/Visual sound, color
Plot taken from IMDb: Senor Martinez, a famous theater owner, visits a local bar in Mexico because of its reputation for good food and to audition the famous dancer who performs there. Martinez tells the bar owner that if the dancer is as good as he has heard, he will offer him a contract to perform in his theater. The bar's female singer hears about this and is determined that he won't leave the bar without her.
Cast: Steffi Duna, Don Alvarado, Paul Porcasi, Eduardo Durant
Orchestra: Eduardo Durant's Rhumba Band
October 7, 2008
If only the sound were as good as the picture
The reason this film is remembered at all (and is restored to its original vivid colors) is because it was the first 3-strip Technicolor live action film release. One only has to look at what contemporary two-strip Technicolor or other competing systems delivered to get some idea of how stunning this film looked to the audiences of its day. And still does. Blue was a problem in the original two-strip Technicolor, probably the reason the Robert Edmund Jones design for this film features blues so prominently. Unfortunately, this particular print of La Cucaracha also highlights a very recent and troubling trend in digital audio restoration. Sound technicians attempt to modernize the audio track by eliminating the clicks, hiss, and noise -- and in the process louse up the actual sound. In this case, lots of the dialogue is very hard to understand, probably not the case in an non-restored print of this film. The sound technicians are doing the equivalent of removing a spot from your clothes but leaving a hole where the smudge was. The Audio section of the Internet Archive features many older records that are digitally "reprocessed" by the folks uploading these selections. Yes, the music doesn't sound scratchy anymore, but everything sounds gargley and flangy and muffled because in removing the noise, they also removed part of the original sound itself. Same deal with this film -- beautifully restored picture, abysmally distorted soundtrack.